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tv   Panel Discussion on Finance  CSPAN  April 27, 2014 1:00pm-2:05pm EDT

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>> welcome to book tvs coverage of day two of the 2014 los angeles times festival of books from the university of southern california. ..
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>> and misdirection and
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deception to avoid the sort of regulation and oversight that would have done much to avert the financial crisis of a few years ago. and it would keep the same thing from happening again in the future. so, on my left, though it is hard to be to my left too much -- [laughter] >> as someone of you who have read my columns may know is noami presence and her book came out tuesday. she is a former wall street executive who was written for many publications in the united states. and her book examines the relationships between banks and bankers on one hand and on
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national government and going back to the sevecenturies and bringing it to present day. on my right is the co-author and she talks about what is wrong with banking and what to do about it. and that is georgia parker, professor at stanford's graduate schools of business. and he is one of the most analyst of the banking sector we have. her book shines a spotlight on how the banks avoided what could have been the most effective reforms of their industry largery by lobbying and by lying -- i hope i am not being too blunt. and on my foreright, just top
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logically speaking is helane olane whose book is "pound foolish: exposing the dark side of the personal finance industry". her book lays the things that underlie the things we are enidated with every day online, ente in television and on print. i will ask by giving their thoughts on their themes, their books, and the subject and say 5-7 minutes each. and we will move on to a broader discussion and then your questions. >> thank you. it is an honor to be here with
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this amazing panel. we were all golf carted over here and talked about each other things for ten minutes and we have known them as well. i came here by uber and the man driving the car asked me what i was talking about and i explained this book about presidents and bankers. and he said it is tighter than every now. and he said but i hear it has gone back like a hundred years and this is nothing new. and i said that is what i talk about. and he said it isn't about wall street and washington it is the blood and marriages and i am like you are quoting me to me -- that is weird. and it turned out he had heard something throughout the week. and as an offer i am talking and writing about books and it was so amazing to have someone woo wasn't related to me actually
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talk about a theme that was out there that is now part of his d discourse. it was a warm feeling to come here. i wrote this book because we know what happened recently in times. i had worked on wall street the years before the financial crisis in 2008. there is an intense alliance and interdependence between washington and wall street that we are aware of. when the heads of big banks don't go to jail and the people that rob small stores do you know there is a problem with justice and accountability. we have a more concentrated wealth. the banks control 84% of the deposits of all the the fdic
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insured danks and 85% of the assets and 96% of derivatives. that is a huge amount in one person's hand. i looked at the idea of the big six. i was covering what was going on icwashington and all there is a lot more to this than what is going on with the big six. six is an interesting number in history. i did a novel called "black tuesday" in which i did less research, but found a meeting on thursday 1929 at noon where the market was falling and all of this unregulated speculation thought coming to a head and a man named thomas lamont who was the acting chairmon of the
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morgan bank at the time, he got five other bankers together that ran the big six banks at the time. they were called the big six bank and that cause coined by forbes in 1917 and forward. at the time those bankers were all related in to capacity. if not by blood it was marriage. enthusiastic -- if they were not there children would be. there was a strong connection to put in money and save the markets. but the story went back before those big six decided to save the markets from the skew ups they had imposed upon them and what would become the great depression. the ties back from the morgan bank went to the panic of 1907.
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jp morgan had more money than the treasury department at one time. there were too many chrrisis. main people didn't have as much invested in the market they were just impacted. today we have pensions and deposits invested and impacted by them. at the time there was panic in the 1890s and they called on morgan. but teddy roosevelt who was the president before that and was friends with the morgans and he was talking about trust busting other industries he didn't bust the banks. and the reason he didn't was because he trusted, supported and was socially involved with jp morgan and other bankers at the time. in 1907 when the panic happened,
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there was a company that employ employiemploiwas imp imp imploding. and the treasury secretary was to wait for the morgan's word. there was a meeting called at midnight at the hotel manhattan with morgan invited friends, stillman head of national citi bank and tom lamont who was around but much younger and a bunch of other people to go around and talk about how they would save the markets. they put in money and got $25 million from the treasury department. that was the first time the trust buster said i need your help, here is money, do whatever you need. morgan got them together and
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they save it but not with morgans but standard oil money and shares they dissect to get back in. not the company that people from harlem to fifth avenue and in between were trying to get their depauosi deposits out of but the american trust company because in that he had invested and running that were his friends. and that was a situation where, you know, the government said -- teddy roosevelt said do this and morgan said okay and saved his friends. that led to the federal resevrv act and this idea that the bankers wanted a bank that could support them more in the panic. so to have other backing. and the bankers pucks pushed for
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the federal reserve act. i went to every presidential museum to examine the documents because i don't trust the media. present company accepted. the purpose of media is to tell the truth and it doesn't also happen but this this case it does. but at the time of the panic the newspapers made him be a king and he saved the world. we see this with jaime diamond stuff in certain publications. jp morgan and jp morgan chase there is a legacy. >> why don't we -- >> i will wrap up. the point is these things have a long tail and there is a lot of blood and connections and relationships and everything that manifest in policies that come not from wall street to washington and washington and
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wall stret but it is one box of power which is shared by different groups of people that have incredible philosophical, political and financial ties. >> okay. why don't you take it from there. [ applause ] >> i come in as an academic. i teach finance at stanford business school. i awoke like everybody else in fall of 2008 and before that wondering what was going on and why is it that this industry managed to harm so much. and the more i look the more of a falling in the rabbit hole it was. two great pieces of literature are alice in wonderland and the
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emperor's new clothes which ended up being the title of the book. it ended up being men so the ties covered enough. i could not believe what i heard and what i didn't hear. what this non-sense was. the more i looked and read and this is media and policy papers and even academics, the more disturbing it was. some of it was utter non-sense that you could debunk if you know the words. the headlines in the paper are false. it isn't true the banks are out to hold cash in some volt. that is fault. through all kinds of settle bankers new clothes, meaning non-sense in one way or another, and there is a whole wardrobe of those. as i talked to people, it became
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obvious, or unclear actually what people knew and what they wanted to know and it became this feeling that i amin in the rabbit hole and i try to see where they are coming from as i talk to them, and i am tutoring whoever i come across, and some of them don't care to know. so it became sort of, okay, assume absolutely nothing. it isn't that hard but if we don't clear the non-sense we have no hope. so this book is a book with a mission to at least remove the non-sense from this debate so we can may be challenge the bank emper emperors that actually have no clothes. the bottom line is this system hasn't changed in the last fives years. it is disturbing and scary.
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all of the talk you hear is narrative. they want you to believe it was just a natural disaster that happened and they sent these really bright ambulances for all of us to help us. but instead, or they tell you it was a problem in the pluming or a liquidity problem. that is the narratives that are favored. they are meant to hide the responsibility of the regilators and the politicians that failed to protect us and which have been barely tweaked since. so the narratives about big reforms i cannot unpack all of them but they are just false. and the analogy you could think about it is imagine trucks
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driving at 90 miles per hour in neighborhoods and they say we are good drivers and terrible things happen if we drive slower. and here are the police man watching by. they don't have the meters showing the speed. they are burning their engines and inefficient and when they implode and take each other down they have to be saved and their insurance companies got to be saved and everything else so that we can have this fuel flowing again into the market. and then they get up and say fix me up so i can keep running, get back in the car and drive again at 87 miles per hour.
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big reform we did. we are leaving risks we cannot see and all of that. the battle is nowhere pretty and the lobby is intense on every bit of it. so the forces against are very small and powerless in the end. it is very difficult partly because of the politics that i do not appreciate but i do now. i am trying to bring in a voice that doesn't care exactly what the outcome is but cares for the public. it is my responsibility to try to unpack the people that are wrong and empower more people to challenge those emperors otherwise we are just driving again at the speed and the next time it happens we are going to wonder how come these policy makers didn't save us and they
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will have a story, you can bet, they will have a story and get a lot of people to spend money for them including academics unfortunately. that is where i come at it from. [ applause ] >> your turn. >> hi, everybody. i write about the area where most of us are most likely to interact with the sector and that is our personal finances. for several years i wrote and edited for money make over fiche for the new york times. you have a subject, fix them up with a planner and they give advice and they say their life is going to be fine after this they just needed a little financial advice is all is well. i came back it this several years ago, long after i stopped doing it, and wanted to ask the
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question of how we had gotten to this point? how had we become convinced that with financial planning and doing good behaviors he would be okay. we were putting more responsibility on people. pensions are being taken away and the salaries are stagnating and falling and at the same time we are saying you need to save are retirement, you need to save for your kids college education, and by the way, we are going to take away the right to declare bankruptcy on the student loans if it doesn't work out. you need to pay more and more of your medical expenses. hospitalizations expenses alone went up 20% alone last year and this year. and it is your fault if this doesn't work out. what i became very interested in was in how we were sold on this
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idea. it all seemed natural to us but in fact planning our own retirements was less than really 35 years old at this point. i went back and of course what i discover quickly is there is one group of people that is doing really well off of this system. and it isn't anybody in this room. it is the financial services sector. they are making a mint on this no matter how bad you are doing. and one quick example, since i don't have a lot of time, we have $23 trillion in retirement savings and that which sounds like an enormous amount comes out to less than $20,000 for person. and that is going to go far especially since the medical cost for over $200,000 for retired households. why are we tolerating this?
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we don't know how much the financial sector service is making off this. estimates are $90 billion to $500 billion. it is somewhere in there. they claim they don't know and can't track the money. they manage to take it but can't tell you where it is going. it is quite fascinating actually. but we have become convinced this is all our own fault. and the premise of my book was to tell the story of how we have been sold on this idea that we could control our financial fate in this world where our salaries were stagnating and our cost of living is going up. and why we were not fighting back. and of course, as i do the book, i find out more and more about the, you know, the lobbying in washington, the vast amounts of money being thrown around to
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make sure you are not protected. if our food was regulated as well as our financial programs we would have food poisoning once a week. and how this came to be. ( ( ( it wasn't that women were underpaid and lived longer it was simply they were too emotional to deal with money and that is why we have less of it. and you could go through a gamut of these things. your financial problems are because of your childhood memory not your class. i wrote a book telling this story and came to the conclusion we need to begin talking about this as a society and not take fault on ourselves and talk about this in ways we no longer thing -- if only i had not gone to starbucks eight times last
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month i could have paid that $10,000 medical bill. on that note, i will conclude and let the panel begin. [ applause ] >> okay. well thanks to all of you for those quick digests. one thing that interests me as writers many of us have the experience that when we are either researching a book or writing it there is a particular moment an an dote or fact that we learn that defines for us either the theme of our book or maybe justifies for us why we are committing ourselves to spending two years maybe three or however long it is deep ending into a subject. and i wonder if each of you could drudge up anadote or fact
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or moment that defind why you were taking on this project. and i don't know if this is the one for you but i think in your book you tell a story of hearing the chairman of doitcha bank justifying or rationale something. >> my moment i was going to speak up had to do with first, wondering, am i missing something and let me read something and another thing. and then thinking it was a confusion somehow. but the big moment was opening up a text book on banking and being horrified at what i saw. that really was shocking. this particular book still has
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completely false teachings that contradict the absolute basic correspondence -- courses -- we teach. this banking denies all of the forces in the world and they deny everything known and make it up. they tell you banking is very special as an industry and in reality the specialness of banking is really what they get away it. that is the specialness. the privilege they have to defy everything and live in an entitlement for cheap funding, take risks, hide the risks, and have somebody else bear the downside. and when i realized this was the essence of what was going on it was a matter of unpacking little bit by little bit for anybody who doesn't know what a balance
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sheet is and most people need to know that but what the words mean and how simple it really is to see through all of this non-sense. so that was the moment. there have been many amazing stories. some days when i write the book, outside job, i might tell it. but i might drop dead from it. or they will shoot me. >> i joke that to have done my book write it would have been five years and i would have had to start over again and my children would have published it because that is how many scams there are in this world. there were a lot of moments but the one that crystallized it for me. when you are writing a book like this people come and say i have the solve. i started looking at financial
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literacy. in fact it is financial literacy right now. the idea is we can teach people about finances in school and they will learn behaviors they should learn. it sounds reasonable. how could you be about teaching kids against money and i look at it and think maybe this will work. financial literacy starts with ford motor credit in the mid 1990's. they are trying to cover up the fact they are having a problem with sub-prime auto loans. and they get a bright idea they are going to fund children's education and money. and they start throwing money at this. it starts to pick up. and it really starts to pick up after 2008. if you go into the lexus database you see the term doubles and doubles a third time within a year. you start having the banks, who
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are putting this product into the schools with their name on it, and they are using this as a way of dumping the responsibility of all of past decades on you. it isn't they issued a sub-prime loan to someone who should not have had it and the terms on the page you should have read it. if you had taken the class in the eighth grade you might have been able to get it. and you should have known when the mortgage broker who was getting paid, and you should have known he was getting paid, you should have known i cannot afford that house and prices don't always go up. and it went on like this. and i just found example after example of how financial literacy was sold to us basically. and i real was shown how the
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ethos of responsibility that we were responsible for what the banks had done had been sold to all of us. [ applause ] >> when i first even began to have any word with people in washington, d.c. i was shocked to see they had no idea about anything. and part of the way they learned was the financial service industry was running what they call the university and taking staffers and wining and dining them for a weekend to teach them how to works. >> i have to just interject to say, i think this was in the book, but i attended a major financial literacy event on the hill and they were wining and dining everybody. >> that is the key to financial literacy on the hill. how to read a menu.
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>> especially when you are not paying the bill. >> that is the key point. it is other people's money. >> that is the last chapter of my book. >> it is isn't just the political system but it goes back to you protect your own and if your own are other banker and politicians or your families are integrated and you understand them all of the policies drive that way. we foot that bill. with the ithings we all talk about is how this impacts people is because we foot the bill. this is about political and financial power that has nothing to do with us. there are moments in the book where i was like wow, i was in the middle of nowhere at times. i was in kansas and i was meeting guys on cattle ranching
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and there every day and pouring through the information and what i did was go to every single place and i want to big six bankers of that time and i started realizing people were heads of the bank for decades and if thought they were in the defense, or the treasury, or the national security department. there wasn't a place where there wasn't overlapping and interaction. washington and wall street were the same thing and two sides of the same coin of power and all of the stories i found just really showed there was personal integration in the families of power and you write about the fdr deal. one of the most fascinating things in the fdr library in new york was i was looking at documents that no one else looked at because they didn't
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think the bankers were friend with fdr. and i mean friends, connecting -- his father worked with morgan to create the metropolitan hangout where they would get together. every place i went there were stories. i can keep going and i won't. but kennedy's, rockfeller's, and these are not conspira speconsp. these are not shithings we are assuming they are conspiracy.
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it is real. it is much more at the core of what america is and what our democracy isn't. if you really look at the information and that was something that all along the way, i going in thought there would be connections but i had no idea how many would be there and how close and tight they really were. [ applause ] >> that is a great point. and since you mentioned having been at the presidential library in new york one of the impressions i got was how bad the equipment was. none of the microfilm readers worked and they were broken down. and this is part of the national archive system and they were putting out appeals for money from the average person.
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i have a lot of friends and there is a great moment that i came across when he was writing a speech about how he was going to raise taxes on the wealthy people up to a marginal rate of 90% or so. he was giving a dramatic reading with herald hickey who was his interior secretary and a republican by the way, but a very progressive one. and vincent astor was in the lawmakers and he is a close friend of fdr and one of the
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original 400 of ward mcalister's term. and he said this is what i am going to do and astor said franklin i am one of those people. and roosevelt looked at him and said you are going to have to pay, too, vincent. this leads me to a question, in all of the period you covered nomi going back to the dawn of the 20th century, it seems to me there was only one period in which there was a successful campaign for wall street and banking regulation and that was the '30's. when we got the security act of 1933 and 1934. we got the fcc. disclosures of corporate
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finances. we brought the new york stock exchange to heel. all of these things. the fdic, of course. is that true and why have we been so unable to do it at other periods and what about the '30's that made it better. and by the way -- related to nelson aldrich rockfeller. >> yes, four time governor, vice president and david rock feller who ran chase for two decades. before that, the man was friends with fdr and me was concerned about the speculation that drove the market apart and concerned about the economy and confidence and banking in general as was fdr saying the only thing we
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have to fear is ourselves. and fdr, because he grew up in heal wealth, he thought a system that lifted up others would be best. and then it actually did and it was put in the new york times to push the act that separated activities and deposits and he promoted it. he was going back and forth to washington to get the senate to make the bill stronger than it was going to be to include the morgan bank which was one of his competitors so it didn't hurt. there is so much self-interest. with the population where it was, and fdr a very skilled
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politician and understanding the language and getting friend of the bankers to work with him, they separated their banks before the legislation. so that was something that happened that helped the country, the bankers and fdr. that lasted, the stability and separation lasted about 40 or so years before in the '70s things started falling apart. and that is when bankers found other ways to make money. they found oil to recycle into the middle east. more stability at home means a better profit and thought we could make a much better profit if we don't care about that and go off in our own direction and politically they were allow today do that by all of the presidents after that. >> you and i were talking before the panel began and in the
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preface, the new preface you have written for the paperback edition of the book you talk about the blindness of bankers and the willful blindness you call it. where do you see one particular market that has the most danger for us that the banks are not weaned from? where is the most mischief possible? >> whenever i see the banks go together on an investment, i think the regulation views this as safe, but it isn't. in particular, munis palties we saw what that did. so overlending to certain
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countries in europe because regulations encourages overlending to businesses in europe. there is a sovereign in europe. there are many ways to increase banking. it isn't risk taking. i come from silicone valley where there is a lot more risk. they take banking with somebody else's barrowed money. they bought a mansion without a downpayment but they are a corporation and have access to profits. but they help them out and they continuely live on the edge. it isn't necessarily. but the problem is they are allowed to. in terms of the blindness. it is a term i came -- after the
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book i met a writer who was a book called "willful blindness" it is about see no evil, hear no evil which represented the blind spots in blanking that is more of the willful blindness. in other words, i don't want to hear about it because it isn't convenient for me. i have had any instances of i don't want to hear what you have to say because i have my story and i am sticking to it. >> helane, there is a lot of your book at resinateed with me because my wife and i were subscribers to money magazine. we discovered two things about that magazine.
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and one was you only have to subscribe for one year because it repeats itself year after year. and the other thing is every month it came in the box and we would play a game find the waldo. and that was the place in every single edition, it never missed one, where it offered the advice of what you should do to save yourself from finance ruin is consolidate your credit cards. and that nugget appeared without fail in every last addition of money magazine -- edition -- and that brings up my question. since the theme of your book is the deck is stacked against the ordinary household, what can the average american, whether
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thinking in terms of being investors or savers, what can we do to save ourselves to resist this? is there anything in particular that people should read or keep in mind when they are flooded by all of this information? >> there is there big picture and the individual picture. the big picture and we all need to speak up about this. we are not going to keep up and the only way is we have to insist on protections out of washington and that is not happening until we start squawking about it. it might not happen then, but at least we will potentially get there. right now people generally don't realize how stacked the deck is against them and i don't mean in terms of income and health insurance and retirement. i mean in fact that the financial service department has little to help you. we think if you go seek help the person has to give us the best
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advice and there is a oath they are violating if they don't. but that is untrue. most financial advistores ad here to the if it fits it is okay. and because most people have no clue about any of this, what i say is that you have to ask questions constantly. and don't assume someone is acting on your behalf. that means asking if they have a legal reason to be on your best interest, ask what they fees are, are they getting paid, are they double-dipping so charging you and getting money from the
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financial sector. don't assume if you are not paying you getting a free service you are not someone else is paying the bill and that someone else doesn't have your best interest at heart. don't take anything for granted. don't just say okay. >> well, one of the things about my news, finished one of his actually weakest book called "boomarang" with exmirroring the brain and how we cannot deal with access and get tempted by credit and things like that. what my book explains and the magic of leverage and the dark side of it. everybody but bankers feels the dark side and those who lend are very good at structuring the
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credit. it is too much credit and too little that is good. credit card debt and other things that are questionable at the same time you know some lending that is not happening. or boom, bust bailouts. >> i have these squirrels in my backyard and i talk about them in books. it is so easy to take someone else's money and leverage that and bet whatever you want and have a have political structure that allows you to do and saves you when it doesn't work out at the expense of everything that went into it that there is no real reason and there is nothing to break that danger on to the wheels. and don't every consolidate your
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credit. throw that away. there are so many ways to extract the money and have it bailed out. there wasn't a little bailout, it was huge. it is going on today and everything day. and the infrastructure creates a bailout and there is a definite danger to that. >> that was one other thing we learned from money magazine was all of the advice was wrong. >> buy money magazine and do everything opposite. >> one comment that struck me on reading all of your books is the claim by your subjects that they actually are put on this earth to do good and they do good. that banks say their lending provides the grease that let's the economy go. they are saving people money and helping them invest for the future whether it is college or
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retirement and we hear this again and again certainly when the prospect of regulation comes up we are told it will destroy a good thing. lewis douglas who is one of f fdr's cabinet owners. very conservative. at the moment when fdr called in his cabinet and said i am taking america off the gold standard, lewis douglas' reaction was this is the end of western civilization. so there is always this idea in the financial sector we cannot do without them. i would like to hear if you have thoughts on how much of that -- how much of a kernel of truth there is in that, if any and how much is pure narrative and
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marketing. >> well, sometimes when i don't have a lot of time i use this quote from paul varker. it is back called "payoff: why wall street always win" and he says unfortunately for america, biden and obama are financially illiterate. and later he worked for ted coffman and why was an interesting senator was he doesn't running for reelection. he took biden's seat when he went to be vice president and served the two years and didn't want to run for election and didn't care about the contributions. he describes in the book a converivation between volker and
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the senator in which volker says anything you propose to do they will always say lending will suffer, growth will suffer, and then he pauses and says i am quoting it is all bullshit. let niasia ellis -- me tell you the following: i go to some events where i see the sausage being made and the interaction of the lawyers of the regilators and there are a lot of lawyers involved. not economist. it is this power play and it is complicated and they have these interesting relationships. and like the tax code they want it complicated so it can
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generate more jobs. so they write this with loopholes and the weight off the shelves and it is impossible to implement because it is a thousand pages of rule. by the time it is done you might as well forget it. or another example with words you know. living will. under the monsterous dodd frank act that is supposed to save us, only to mangle this and cut it by a thousand cuts, and if any regilator dares to do something they cut their budget, too. in that big first title of it, there is a requirement that the banks write a living will. when you worry about your loved ones making decisions when you are alive about disconnecting you from machines, they want to banks to describe how they would
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go through the same bankruptcy code that leiman brothers went through that took five years and took all of the assets that took down the rest of the systems. how at jp morgan chase, at least four times bigger, depends on the accounting system a lot more if you count the derivatives, trillions of dollars, no other company in the world has so many assets to manage. how this will be unnoted through a bankruptcy court. good luck to us. they spend a lot of time and money writing these things and the regilator is supposed to check them and tell us somehow that jp morgan-chase at the time like other companies will go down, they will go done through bankruptcy without harming us. i don't need to see what they submitted to know the answer is there is no way this will happen. they will say no more bailout.
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bullet there is collateral damage so we will let them implode and meanwhile no fuel and dead bodies and etc. in other words, what is the alternati alternative if you let them drive at 90 miles per hour. not all of the regulations are useful. >> the dodd frank act is bullshit because it is true you can drive a truck through anything that is related to restraining anything despite every complaint that is coming from the banking system and the millions of lobbyest and lawyers and pr people. >> regulators don't want to admit their own. >> i read the rule. it is like six pages of somewhat
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of a rule and like 900 pages of exceptions to the rule. it is ridiculous. and living wills, too. after world war ii and after that period and before that where fdr went off the gold standard, it was something the bankers wanted. they were in support of the reforms that divided speculation from deposit, but whenever it is easy to have money to play with, you don't have accouaccountabilr gold to a count, the speculation is you will make money quicking, and it it falls apart you have backing. that went through the nixon period he went up and talked about how it was his idea to take them off the gold standard but it was rockefeller who was running citi bank because they
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pushed for the idea that america needs to expand. in order for america to be powerful, the joint fulosity is that american competitiveness is something that is important to both. and they talked about military support and capitalism versus communis communism. the u.s. bankers were opening branches in those countries. it wasn't an accident in terms of that. they believe it strongly and i said this because -- i think i said this in the book -- but they are reinforcing power and
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the people involved at the most elite levels understand that it is mutually reinforcing. they don't need to understand. even if they did it won't matter because it is about american competitiveness and doesn't matter if americans fall on the face or anybody else in another country falls on their face because of that. there are speeches in my book where people under different presidents say the same words. >> sometimes it sounds like they are reading each other's lines. >> i think our about to believe our own bs is unparallel. we believe we are actors in this world and maybe there is an exception here but most of us don't. and that includes the bankers
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and financial service people. they think what they are doing is in our best interest and they thing it is important and if we don't do it bad things will happen. these are powerful interests. ge i think as people, since we are in la, i will use my famous celebri celebrity. when you live in la you know someone who starts becoming a e celebrity and people surround them who tell them yes and agree with them and the people that tell them no disappear slowly. this is what happens to bankers.
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they hear what they think and that is they are acting right and we are wrong. they are not evil -- >> some are evil. >> they are not always evil people. >> no comment. >> i have a lot more questions but i want to turn it over to the floor. maybe we have time -- let's take a couple. the gentlemen over there. >> i don't know who i am taking this to. i am holding it. all right. >> okay. ...
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i'm not a plan from the national review or something, are but do any of your books mention the government's role in the creation of this mortgage mess? thank you. >> before i take another question, i just want to remind you that books are for sale upstairs and we'll be signing across the way. there's -- in ten minutes. lady right over here.
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>> my question is in regard to the student loan system. the student loan system is coming pop its 50th 50th anniversary next year and right now it's crossed into a trillion dollar debt system. it's not uncommon to find anecdotes of people having their social security checks garnished for student loan payments, and you have close to 50% of all students now taking out student loans, and increasing number of -- 20-30% in delinquency or not making any payments at all. is it possible this could be the next great financial crisis in the u.s.? >> absolutely. i'm pretty convinced this isn't going to get solved until students are marching in the streets and demanding relief. what we know is that the problem was both growing for 30 years and then when students lost the right to declare bankruptcy on loans from private banks in the 2005 bankruptcy reform legislation, the amount of loans
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doubled within seven years. as soon as basically the banks -- the bank's defense was, we would never do this. we can't get blood from a stone. apparently they think they can and this is what happened. the only way it's going to stop isn't because you're going to learn to manage your money well or take financial literacy classes or a lesser college. it's going to stop because we demand it stop, and if it doesn't it will eventually crash on itself. i thought it would happen by now, it hasn't. it could go on longer than we think. >> the time has run away with us. we all will be across the way to take more of your questions and also to sign books. so feel free to join us. >> thank you very much. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
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>> our coverage of the 2014 los angeles times festival of book will continue now with a panel on world politics. [inaudible conversations] >> good afternoon. can everyone hear me? first step. need to make a couple of announcements. you have heard them in other sessions today or yesterday. please silence all cell phones during the session. the -- there will be a


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